The body needs optimal nutrition with various vitamins and minerals, in order for it to carry out its functions in either macroscopic and microscopic levels. Found in both plant and animal sources, vitamins and minerals aid in the body’s growth, healing, and repair, as well as the body’s maintenance of its structures – the cells, tissues, organs, and systems.
Vitamin D is known to prevent and/or treat a condition called rickets, a disease that results from the deficiency of vitamin D, according to Web MD. In addition, the vitamin is also utilized in the management of musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoporosis (weakening of bones), osteomalacia (bone pain), as well as osteogenesis imperfecta, an inherited condition in which the bones are especially brittle and easily broken. There are also some cases in which vitamin D is used to prevent fractures and falls in people who have increased risk of having osteoporosis, along with preventing low calcium and bone loss from people who have renal osteodystrophy or kidney failure.
It is true that calcium is one of the most important minerals for the human body. Aside from helping in the formation and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones, calium also aids prevent the condition called osteoporosis. In fact, calcium has many other uses. According to Medline Plus, calcium helps the body in building strong bones and teeth, clotting blood, transmitting and receiving nerve signals, squeezing and relaxing the muscles, releasing hormones and other neurotransmitters, and maintaining a normal heartbeat.
Aside from their individual functions, vitamin D and calcium also work hand in hand. According to Web MD, vitamin D is necessary for the balance of the minerals calcium and phosphorus, which both play vital roles in maintaining the proper structure of the bones.
Exposure to sunlight triggers the skin to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D levels vary with a person’s age and skin type, as well as the time of the day and the season. The face, arms, hands, and legs should also be exposed to sunlight at least two to three times in a week. It is said that about one-fourth of the time it would take the skin to develop a mild sunburn will trigger the skin to produce adequate vitamin D.
Meanwhile, there are several food sources for calcium. According to Medline Plus, excellent sources of calcium include dairy products, vegetables, and supplements.
Among calcium food sources, dairy products are some of the best. Sources, such as milk, yogurt, buttermilk, and cheese have a calcium form that can be easily absorbed by the body. In fact, they do come in low-fat or fat free versions. Most brands of milk in the market are fortified with vitamin D, which aids the body use the mineral. In addition, milk is also an excellent source of phosphorus and magnesium, which aids the body absorb and utilize calcium.
Together with milk and dairy products, other animal sources of vitamin D and calcium include fish, such as perch, sardines, rainbow trout, and salmon. Fatty fish like mackerel, tuna, and salmon are also excellent sources.
Calcium can also be obtained from plant food sources, besides dairy products from animals. These vegetables include spinach, soybeans, okra, collards, kale, broccoli, mustard greens, Chinese cabbage, turnip greens, Brazil nuts, tahini, dried beans, and sunflower seeds.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins and minerals refers to the amount of each vitamin or mineral that a person should consume each day and it varies with age and gender.
Along with sunlight and food sources for vitamin D and calcium, supplements are also available in the market. However, it is best to consult a physician with regard to the use of such supplementation.